March 29, 2011

Is a “CVNO” Model the Future of the Cloud?

Just finishing up a very thought-provoking World Hosting Days event in Germany (kudos to the team for putting on a great event) and the many conversations and presentations got me thinking of a model we all remember – MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operator.

The Cloud market is starting to look like it may take the form of a CVNO – “Cloud Virtual Network Operator.”  So let me explain what I mean by CVNO.  There are two key trends leading to the emergence of a CVNO business structure:

  • The Niche-ification of Cloud services – It is becoming clear that there will be different Cloud service operators to serve different target markets – be they traditional market segments or geographical segmentation based on regulation or customer preference.  This is quite different than the Cloud model of just 12 months ago when the talk was of one (or a few) mega-sized Cloud operators positioned to serve everything.  It is clear from my conversations with customers and the segmented models that the various Cloud service layer solutions are developing that the Cloud is not a one-size-fits-all proposition – market segmentation is alive and well in the Cloud!  However, these niche markets still need to ride the wave of consolidated, cost-effective and elastic infrastructures that only come with scale.
  • The Stratification of Cloud Physical Infrastructure – It is becoming equally clear that there are three distinct expertise areas and layers to Cloud:
  • Physical Building Infrastructure – Think Equinix and i/o Data Centers and the new wave of optimized data center developers like Nova Corp. These are the providers of the real estate and co-location facilities that provide the physical infrastructure to support the various levels of reliability, security and connectivity to the Internet.  Interestingly enough, i/o Data Centers has coined the term DCaaS –or “Data Center as as a Service, a very important concept for the CVNO business model. These are generally referred to as Tier 1 -4 data centers.
  • Network Infrastructure (Physical and Virtual) – This layer is composed of the virtualization, server, storage and network components that are integrated,  in a shared infrastructure model – they compose the  basis for the service offering(s) be they SaaS, PaaS, CaaS, StaaS or IaaS.
  • Cloud Service Layer – This is the services software layer that provides the Cloud-based services.  Think OpenStack, OnApp, vCloud, etc.  This is the Cloud intelligence layer that provides the provisioning, management and monitoring layer for Cloud services.

So how does this translate to CVNO?

There are a number of vendors and solutions that provide for the deployment of any combination of physical network and Cloud service layer solutions as the basis for Cloud services – in any location around the globe.

So, now come the market-specific solutions.  Service Providers can bundle and customize any combination, based on their requirements to serve a specific market segment.  For example, if you wanted to deploy a Cloud service focused on dentists in Peoria, IL, or commercial websites based in Rust, Germany, a service provider can choose a data center located in the right geography to address local regulation and the right level of data center based on uptime and regulations (Tier 1 through 4) and the right Cloud service layer software to meet the needs (feature or economics of the customer base).

The next phase of Cloud just may be the migration from the monolithic cloud service provider to the manically focused Cloud service provider that rides on the global CVNO infrastructure – allowing a focused niche market approach to meet the geographical or market specific requirements.

It is quite possible we are headed towards a global interoperable infrastructure that services ride on to address specific markets and their specific requirements.

– Kevin

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Extreme Marketing Team

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